Review by Caitlin Seal
In Timebound, Rysa Walker tells us there’s a natural order to the world. Socks come before shoes, and usually grandchildren are born after their grandparents. But things tend to get a little wonky when your grandparents are stranded time travelers and one of them is trying to take over the world.
Walker’s Chronos Files series follows the adventures of Kate — a reluctant young time traveler who must help stop her grandfather’s plot to rewrite history. Book one, Timebound, was a fun mix of adventure, intrigue, and history that jumped onto my top ten list for YA and left me excited to pick up the sequel, Time’s Edge, when it hit shelves last October.
What grabbed me most about the series were Walker’s characters and her vivid depictions of American history. Kate is tough and driven, but not as overwhelming as some other YA heroines who share those traits. Her strong bonds with her parents and grandmother are a nice change in a genre where families are often absent or estranged. In Timebound, Kate traveled to the Chicago World Fair to stop a murder that would have written her out of existence. I was excited to see what new locations Walker would explore, and book two did not disappoint. In Time’s Edge, Kate bounces between 1905 Boston and depression era Georgia to collect the keys of other time travelers before her grandfather can turn them to his own purposes. Walker does a great job establishing a strong feeling of place in both locations, while still keeping the action moving.
Time’s Edge often lingers to contemplate the nagging moral questions of saving people or letting them die to protect the supposedly ‘true’ timeline. Figuring out what was meant to happen isn’t quite a simple as it appeared in book one. And it turns out that knowing someone is meant to die doesn’t make it any easier to watch. As her grandmother’s cancer worsens, Kate is forced to make her own choices about when to protect and when to let go.
One thing you won’t find in the Chronos Files is a detailed discussion of how time travel might actually work. The system of keys and genetic modifications has an almost mystical quality that invites the reader to accept without asking too many questions. This doesn’t come as a surprise since YA SF tends to be light on scientific explanations, and for the most part it doesn’t distract from the story.
If you’re like me and use audio books to squeeze in more reading time, I’d highly recommend looking at this series. Not only are the books good, but Kate Rudd’s narration is some of the best I’ve heard. She’s one of those rare actors who has the range to do both male and female voices without coming off as squeaky or growly.
Time’s Edge ends with enough of a hook to leave readers curious for the third (and final) book of the series, which is set to release some time this September.
- Series: The Chronos Files (Book 2)
- Paperback: 450 pages
- Publisher: Skyscape (October 21, 2014)
- ISBN-10: 1477825827
- ISBN-13: 978-1477825822